Banks in Cuba will again accept cash deposits in US dollars after a ban prohibiting the practice was surprisingly lifted on Monday.
Cubans had been unable to deposit dollars in cash into their accounts at banks and other financial institutions for almost two years.
The Cuban government brought in the ban in 2021 citing “continuing difficulties caused by the ongoing US embargo”.
The move comes among the worst economic crisis to hit Cuba in decades.
Cubans are facing shortages of food, medicines and petrol which have led to long queues forming at shops and petrol stations.
The resolution by the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) was published in Cuba’s Official Gazette on Monday and is effective immediately.
It does not mention Cuba’s current economic problems but rather cites the recent increase in tourism and the “gradual recovery of the service industry and the productive sector” as the reasons behind the lifting of the ban.
The resolution also stated that the “economic pressure” from the United States, which it said led to the ban in the first place, remained in place and that therefore “the root of the problem” had not been solved.
Cuba has been under US sanctions for more than six decades but the economic restrictions placed on it were further tightened under the Trump Administration.
Under the sanctions, it became increasingly difficult for Cuba’s Central Bank to find international banks willing to receive dollars in cash from the Communist-run island.
While the Trump-era sanctions have so far remained in place under President Joe Biden, Cuban and US officials have been holding meetings to discuss another matter affecting them both: the large number of Cubans trying to migrate to the US.
The two countries say they are keen to ensure “a safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration between Cuba and the United States” after a record 220,000 Cubans were caught irregularly crossing the US-Mexico border in the 2022 fiscal year.
Officials from the two countries are due to hold a “high-level meeting” in Washington on Wednesday to discuss migration.